Friday, August 17, 2012


But If Not

 

Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” – Daniel 3:15

I messed up yesterday.  I picked up a cart rope (Isaiah 44:18-20) and I drug that thing around for over an hour.  And when I got up this morning, I started to pick it up again.
Yesterday I had a person that works for a client email some pretty harsh and unfair statements.  They were critical of my knowledge in working with them after less than a week, called me “green” and said I lacked “diligence”.  It hurt because I take pride in not just doing my job, but giving my clients excellence.  Regardless of what was said, and how unfair it was, I should have left that cart rope in the sand.  Instead, I took the bait and picked it up, and sent my own email.

It was the first thing I thought of this morning.  Immediately the enemy began to show me the cart rope again.
“You shouldn’t have sent that email.  What are they all thinking about you now?  You’re just a woman without self-control.  God isn’t happy with you.  You have no patience.  You’re going to have some explaining to do today.  Imagine how disappointed everyone will be in you!”

Oh, he was having a real party dancing around in my little head and telling me what I should feel! That is, until the Holy Spirit stepped in and started doing all the talking.  I thank God that I have the One with me who is my comforter in even these small battles!  He then reminded me of Daniel in the fiery furnace, and how King Nebuchadnezzar was being a bully like my client.
The thing about Daniel that bothered the King most is that he prayed.  Daniel prayed every day, three times a day, and he didn’t hide in a dark corner to do it.  He prayed in a window where all could see his faith.  And he walked that faith daily.  When the King had a dream that needed interpreting Daniel was the only one who could interpret it because he was the only one that the Holy Spirit told the dream to.   His faith was obvious, and his loyalty to God overshadowed his loyalty to the King or anyone else.  And that was the thing the King really hated.

King Nebuchadnezzar would have liked nothing more than to take Hananiah, Mishael, and Daniel (aka Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego) and make them his own little puppets.  They were kept as prisoners by him.  He renamed them.  He wanted to determine what they ate and drank, and what they did.  But the last straw was when he tried to make them bow down to his golden idols.  He had given them an ultimatum.  They would either bow down to them, or they’d be place in a fiery furnace to die.  He even got so bold as to say “And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Can you imagine the noise in Heaven that statement must have made?
Daniel didn’t waiver. His reply to the King was solid.  He didn’t need to make excuses; he didn’t need to explain his stand.  When faced with a bully, the thing to remember is what you fight – fights you.  Daniel wouldn’t fight.  He simply said “O Nebuchadnezzar, WE HAVE NO NEED TO ANSWER YOU IN THIS MATTER.”  Daniel wasn’t willing to fight a battle he didn’t start.  Oh that I had just followed his lead yesterday.  But I didn’t.  However, I get a new chance today, and I can follow the rest of what Daniel told the king today:

"If that is the case, our God whom we serve IS ABLE TO DELIVER US from the burning fiery furnace, and HE WILL DELIVER US from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

Daniel put his trust in God that God would show up and deliver them.  But he did even more than that when he said “But if Not”.  Even if God didn’t show up – even if God decided the fire was to take their very lives – Daniel still proclaimed his obedience and loyalty to God in that he would not worship anyone or anything else.
So today, the goal is to be like Daniel.  Stand strong in the faith, don’t give the bully an opponent, and wait for God’s deliverance to come.  “But if Not”…I’ll still love him and follow him until I’ve breathed my very last breath.  How could I not love the One who has calmed the storm?

NOTE:  Today a friend of mine’s brother is having surgery for cancer.  I ask you all to please be in prayer for him.  He has battled cancer before.  Pray with me that God, who is rich in mercy and grace, will again heal him from this disease, and restore him.  Not one cell lives or dies within our frail bodies without God willing that life.  Believe in faith with me that He will show up, and remove life from those harmful cells, in Jesus Name, Amen.

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